Sunday, August 27, 2006



Tom Toles had a good cartoon in the Washington Post. It was planet Earth making a public service announcement, urging us to vote against all republicans running for office in November, because they have made it clear that they intend to do nothing about global warming any time soon, and time is running out.

I'm no fan of republicans' policy on global warming, which seems to mostly be a combination of denial, delay, and coddling big polluters. But the republicans aren't forcing us to buy ever-bigger homes and SUVs, and to move out to the farthest suburbs and commute an hour to work, and to use our car instead of public transportation or a bicycle for close trips. It's not the government making us a eat a wasteful meat-heavy diet. At any time we can buy less stuff, we can favor locally-grown produce, we can eat lower on the food chain, we can turn the thermostat to a more energy-efficient temperature. We can modify our purchases to support environmentally responsible companies. Ultimately, we have the power to reduce our own substantial contribution to climate change. We can't blame the government for our behavior. We don't have to wait until the right person is in office to change our lifestyle. Do we have the integrity to acknowledge our own responsibility in global warming?

This reminds me of health issues. Granted, even the most health-conscious person can be afflicted with deadly disease, but while we give all this money to organizations that claim to be looking for a cure — in a magic pill or injection — we eat ourselves to death. We want a cure for cancer, but we want our hot dogs and grilled meat. We want a cure for heart disease, but less than a third of us eat our five small portions of vegetables per day. Curbing disease risk — in most cases, whether to our individual selves or to the whole world, starts with responsible behavior. We can't wait for someone else to bail us out of our own destructive decisions.

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